Frequently Asked Questions

How much electricity does a nuclear power plant generate?

As of December 1, 2015, there were 99 operating nuclear reactors at 61 nuclear power plants in the United States. The Fort Calhoun plant in Nebraska has one reactor with the smallest generating capacity1 of 479 megawatts (MW). The Palo Verde plant in Arizona has three reactors and has the largest combined generating capacity1 of about 3,937 MW.

The amount of electricity that a nuclear reactor or power plant generates depends on the amount of time it operates at a specific capacity. For example, if the Fort Calhoun reactor operates at 479 MW capacity for 24 hours, it will generate 11,496 megawatthours (MWh). Most power plants do not operate a full capacity every hour of every day of the year.

1Net summer capacity

Learn more:
What is the difference between electricity generation capacity and electricity generation?
U.S. nuclear generation and generating capacity (historical monthly capacity and generation by state and reactor)
Nuclear energy (historical monthly and annual data on the total number of U.S nuclear reactors, electricity capacity and generation, and capacity factors)
U.S. Nuclear Industry
Nuclear Power Plants

Last updated:  December 3, 2015


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